"Stay the Course" against Terrorism,
The international community must "stay the course, even though the days ahead
are difficult in Afghanistan and Iraq," Secretary of State Colin Powell said
March 25 at the annual Keenan Institute dinner in Washington.
"We stay the course, also, against the threat of terrorism," he said. "There's
no question that the new ideology that threatens us is not called communism or
fascism, but it is terrorism.
"It affects all of us and no nation can step away from it. No nation can think
they're immune from it. No civilized nation dare not be part of this great
crusade against the evil of terrorism that afflicts all of us."
In a speech outlining the "core principles" of diplomacy and U.S. foreign
policy, Powell spoke of the balance between patience and diplomatic effort, and
the use of power; the importance of gathering allies; and the need to give an
adversary "an honorable path of escape" in order to achieve policy goals without
Against terrorism, he said, "we're working with a broad coalition of nations
that understand the threat and our shared responsibility to meet it. The use of
force has been, and remains, our last resort. But we use it when necessary."
Powell stressed, "Diplomacy isn't the opposite of force. Diplomacy without power
is just naked pleading. Power without diplomacy is incomplete."
On the second principle, the importance of allies, Powell used the example of
NATO, which he said was not just a military alliance but also "a compact of
"Our common security challenges are no longer as vivid as they were in the days
of Soviet military power," Powell said. "Threats are less well defined, more
unpredictable. That's been true even of terrorism, though it's clear now that
this threat is global and not simply aimed at America. You can see that in Bali,
Madrid, Riyadh, Turkey, so many other places, in Russia itself, in Moscow."
"NATO is closing ranks and working well on a whole range of issues, not just
Afghanistan, and I hope NATO will find a role to play in Iraq reconstruction as
well," Powell said.
He noted that seven new members will be added to the NATO alliance on March 29
and that NATO "is no longer seen as a threat to the Russian Federation, and in
fact, the NATO-Russia Council invites Russia to work with NATO."
As for differences among the allies on Iraq and other issues, Powell said,
"transatlantic ties are as flexible as they are unbreakable."
For example, Germany is a leader in NATO's first non-European deployment, which
is in Afghanistan. " This is the same German Government that we differed with
seriously about Iraq last year. But here we have common cause."
In dealing with the issue of North Korea, Powell said, the United States "has
also gathered allies. Russia, China, South Korea, Japan -- all are committed to
the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all North Korean
The case of North Korea also demonstrates the third diplomatic principle, he
said, because to end North Korea's nuclear threat, "there has to be an exit
through which the North Korean leadership can move if it makes the right
choices. That exit is marked, ‘Embark here and now for the 21st century, and to
have an honorable place in the world community.'
"If North Korea's leaders do embark for the 21st century, and if our diplomacy
achieves the complete dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programs, we will
have gained an important success."
"American foreign policy is anchored in a method as well as in its ideals," said
Powell. "It's President Bush's method, in which power and persuasion combine in
an active diplomacy. It's a method by which we seek partners though whom our
power can be both legitimated and used for the greater good."
Following is a transcript of his remarks:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN L. POWELL
AT THE 2004 ANNUAL KENNAN INSTITUTE DINNER
WOODROW WILSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS
March 25, 2004
National Press Club
Washington, D.C. (7:00 p.m. EST)
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Lee, for that very warm and kind and short
introduction. (Laughter.) We did have some interesting times a couple of days
ago before the 9/11 Commission, and you did give me instructions to be here on
time tonight, knowing that I had to go to Madrid overnight and come back from
Madrid after attending a very moving memorial service.
But in order to follow your instructions, I managed to get myself in trouble.
Because when I was in Madrid, after the memorial service, I was planning to see
and was invited to see the new Prime Minister of Spain, Mr. Zapatero. And as I
was waiting to see him, there were a number of other leaders before me. And for
those of you who follow these matters, you will notice in Financial Times today,
there is an article that I was a little bit rude and that I was a little
indignant that I was being kept waiting by the President of the French Republic.
President Chirac was in with the new Spanish Prime Minister.
Now, I don't wish to offend my French friends or President Chirac or anyone. But
I was anxious, but it had nothing to do with the fact that I was waiting in
queue behind President Chirac. It had to do with the very simple fact that my
airplane crew was running out of flight time, and if I did not get into this
meeting with the new Prime Minister and out of this meeting with the new Prime
Minister, out to the airport in 15 minutes flat, and back here to the United
States, we would have lost 24 hours and I would not be with you this evening.
(Laughter.) So with due apologies to (applause) President Chirac, I am here.
Secretary Albright, so many other distinguished guests here, I am quite pleased
to be with you all this evening. And Lee, I assume that both you and the dinner
chairman, Tom Pickering, had a hand in inviting me here to talk about diplomacy
and foreign policy and the Kennan legacy. And it's flattering because I can
think of no two other Americans that I admire more with respect to their
contributions to diplomacy, to foreign policy, and their dedication to public
service. Tom -- one of the most able and experienced of all of our Foreign
Service Officers, still regarded as something of an icon in Foreign Service
(applause) and continuing to do your great work.
And Lee, of course we all know they grow 'em tall and tough, but smart and
subtle out in Indiana. And you're a diplomat in so many ways. And you and I have
spent some quality time together lately, Lee. And in fact, as I see Madeleine
here, and Tom here, and you here, and this nice big table here, we might as well
get started again and see what else we can do.
But I thank you, Lee, for being the Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Once
again, you're serving your nation. And I know the Commission will do its job
well and I know the Commission will wade through all of the charges and
countercharges, comments and commentary that we see going back and forth. The
American people want to know exactly what might have been known or not known
during this difficult period before 9/11 and over a period of two
I know that President Bush was committed to doing everything we can do with
respect to terrorism and I know President Clinton felt the same way. None of us
were unmindful of the threat that this nation was facing overseas and here at
home. And I know that as a result of the dedicated work that you and your
Commission members will put into this and all of the people you have been
speaking to, you will come out with the right answer for the American people.
The families of the 9/11 victims want that and expect that, and I know you'll
provide that to them.
And we also want to know what we can do better in the future. What might we have
missed in the past that could have given us more indication of what was about to
happen, but just as important, what should we do in the future to prevent a
recurrence? And I hope the Commission succeeds, and I'm confident that it will
under your leadership and with the leadership provided before and by all the
members of the Commission.
It's a particular honor for me to have been invited to this annual Kennan
Institute dinner. Not only does this dinner celebrate the 30th anniversary of
the Institute, it also coincides with the Ambassador's 100th birthday.
The Institute is renowned for its sponsorship of scholars examining the former
Soviet Union and Russian and Eurasian issues in general. Its work has been of
the highest quality, as befits the Wilson Center and the Smithsonian
Institution, of which it is a part, and it's still going strong after all these
years. Whether it's the Institute's short-term grant program or its research
scholarship program, interested top-rate scholars know where to apply. And if
it's archives one needs, the NPR/Kennan Institute-founded audio archive is
Now, the Kennan Institute has seen some pretty amazing changes over the 30 years
of its life. We have moved from a time when Americans and Russians sat mostly in
separate rooms and considered each other as target sets to where we now sit in
the same room and target the solution to problems common to us all.
I was in Moscow just a few weeks ago. I can testify to the truth of that
statement. Could I have thought 30 years ago or 30-odd years ago, 32 years ago
to be precise, when I was a young lieutenant colonel of infantry and I had the
chance to visit Russia, the Soviet Union for the first time, could I have
imagined back then in the very depths of the Cold War that I'd live to see such
a day as this, when an American Secretary, and I'm not just the first, Madeleine
has had the same experience, could visit Moscow and be genuinely among friends
in high places working on issues of mutual interest, working to strengthen a
partnership, disagreeing on some issues but being drawn closer and closer
together by those issues in which we have a common interest?
I don't really remember if I could have dreamed of something like that so many
years ago. I was too busy at that time defending the Fulda Gap as a young
lieutenant. I love to tell the story of being a second lieutenant of infantry
and being sent to Germany and being assigned to a rifle platoon that had a
section of the Fulda Gap, and having explained to me in the most clear,
concrete, crystal terms one can imagine what my job was in the conduct of the
strategy of containment. My company commander said to me, "Lieutenant, you see
that tree and you see that tree?" "Right, yeah." "Well, you guard between those
two trees, and when the Russian army comes, don't let 'em through. You got it?"
"Got it." (Laughter.) That's all I needed to know. They shall not pass.
And now these 30-odd years later, just as George Kennan predicted, the Fulda Gap
is a tourist attraction. Fulda and Gap -- I often joke, maybe Gap means the
store, GAP, no longer the Gap that I worried about for all those years. But
George Kennan knew there would be such a transformation. He knew it would
happen, and he lived to see it. 100 years old -- now that really is something,
even in a day of amazing medical breakthroughs.
Most of us, I think, have pondered the secret of what it takes to reach that
elusive third digit in our ages. There's certainly lots of lore and humor on the
topic to stimulate us, but it's clear to me that one quality that it takes to
reach 100 is patience. Living 100 years is something you just can't rush. George
Kennan has shown the virtue of patience, but not just by making it to 100 years
of age. Ambassador Kennan also demonstrated patience by waiting more than 45
years for his prediction of Soviet collapse to come true. And we could return,
as you heard earlier, to a discussion about Russia as our partner.
He suffered though plenty of arguments during those years about the "if's,"
"why's," and "wherefore's" of containment -- would it work? Was it more
diplomatic or was it more the use of military power and force? But he never
changed his mind; he always knew it would happen. He was patient and he was
proven right in his own lifetime. And all of us should be so fortunate to get at
least one big thing right in our lifetime, and to live to see it come to pass.
All of us might also learn a lesson about diplomacy from Ambassador Kennan's
patience. Patience is indispensable to long-term success in foreign policy. And
that goes double for a large and wealthy country with a capable military such as
the United States. Indeed, patience in a great power goes to the core principle
of diplomacy itself, one of three principles that I'd like to talk about this
This first principle concerns the relationship between diplomacy and the power
to coerce others, whether military power or economic power. That principle is
that power is a necessary condition for foreign policy success, but not always a
sufficient one. Power is necessary because using force in statecraft is
sometimes unavoidable -- as every single American Administration and official in
any American Administration since Pearl Harbor has experienced and knows well.
It's just not possible to reason with every adversary that threatens a vital
Fortunately, "jaw-jaw" -- as Winston Churchill called diplomacy -- is often
judged better than war-war. Contests of persuasion form the normal course of
events, and that is fortunate. Obviously then, patience is a virtue in
diplomacy; but it's not the only virtue. A willingness to use power when
necessary is a virtue, also.
But what's the mean, what's the balance, between patience and power? How does a
president decide, when everyone knows there are risks and dangers in both
directions, risks and dangers of using too much power and of using too little? A
president doesn't know. He can't know for sure. No president can. No one can see
into the future. A president assembles the best advice he can and then uses his
best judgment. Such judgments aren't easy. It's hard to be president. All of our
greatest presidents from history have told us so. Every future president will
know it, too, or learn it quick enough.
When a president does have to use force, it's a blessing to have the best force
around. And the United States military, in the case of military power, is the
finest in the world. We're thankful for that and we're proud of it. Our troops
and those of our coalition partners performed brilliantly in Afghanistan against
the Taliban and al-Qaida, and in Iraq against the Baath regime -- and on that
point everyone agrees.
I was in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan last week, and I remember a moment in
Baghdad when I was talking to a large group of troops and civilian workers and
diplomats in a large hall in the Coalition Provisional Authority room. And after
my few remarks, I was taking pictures and shaking hands as all of us like to do,
and it's so great to be with those young people. And one young soldier shoved
his hand through the crowd and grabbed my hand. And he shook it vigorously and
he said, "Not Secretary, but General, stay the course. Stay the course." What he
meant by that is he knew why we were there; he knew what we were doing; he knew
that the days ahead would be difficult. He knew the dangers, but he also knew
that what we were doing was right: the opportunity to bring hope to a people;
the opportunity to bring democracy to a people; the opportunity to rebuild a
nation that had been devastated by a dictatorial, despotic regime that filled
I saw that same attitude in Afghanistan when I visited our troops there and saw
what they were doing and visited a registration center where women, for the
first time, were coming forward, uncovered, in order to sign the necessary forms
to get a registration card so they could vote, and vote freely on the basis of
the new constitution that had just been passed in Afghanistan by a Loya Jirga.
Stay the course. Even though the days ahead are difficult in Afghanistan and
Iraq because the work we do is noble and correct. Stay the course. We stay the
course, also, against the threat of terrorism, which all of us are seized with
this week. There's no question that the new ideology that threatens us is not
called communism or fascism, but it is terrorism. And it affects all of us and
no nation can step away from it. No nation can think they're immune from it. No
civilized nation dare not be part of this great crusade against the evil of
terrorism that afflicts all of us.
We're all in debt to these wonderful young men and women of ours in uniform and
also, we're in debt to the thousands of other civilians, diplomats, contractors,
who work at their side. That this work goes on illustrates this first principle
of democracy. It shows that military victories don't translate automatically
into political achievements the day after the war ends.
After the fighting stops, other hard work begins, including political and
diplomatic work, rebuilding, transforming a defeated country -- something we
have experience in from World War II and other events that we have been involved
in over the years; so it was after our Civil War, World War II, so it is today.
But while the effective use of force doesn't always immediately translate
directly into final political success, it does do more than defeat enemies on
Power has a reputation as well that walks before it into the future, affecting
what others think about us and what their reactions will be to future events.
America never looks for opportunities to exercise power except in defense of our
vital interests and the vital interests of our allies. We don't use force just
to burnish our reputation or to enhance our credibility. As every president
knows, it's better, whenever possible, to let the reputation of power achieve
policy goals rather than the use of power, especially military power itself. And
it's diplomacy that deploys power's reputation to do this in the form of
political influence. One of my predecessors and Madeleine's predecessors at the
State Department, a great American by the name of Dean Acheson, captured this
idea when he wrote that "influence is the shadow of power."
For any Administration, any president, real and lasting success in foreign
policy frequently comes from deploying the shadow of power as well as, when
necessary, from the application of power itself. Moreover, history makes clear
that force is only one element of policy success. There are many reasons for
this, all embedded firmly in our history books and all very well understood by
As he made clear, speaking of Iraq, "all the tools of diplomacy, law
enforcement, intelligence, and finance are important. We're working with a broad
coalition of nations that understand the threat and our shared responsibility to
meet it. The use of force has been, and remains, our last resort." But use it
We as a nation are now debating recent history -- Afghanistan, Iraq, the
campaign against terrorism. We should debate it. It befits a great democracy.
We're reviewing judgments that have been made by presidents over the years. That
is also appropriate in a great democracy. And there are also broader concerns
that we have to look at and which Lee Hamilton and the members of his Commission
are looking at to make sure that we are structured properly for the times that
we live in and the times that we will be living in.
But there is no disagreement in principle about the relationship between power
and persuasion in American diplomacy. Everyone who understands that power is
necessary, but not always sufficient for foreign policy success knows, too, that
force and authority aren't the same. Not all use of
force is created equal in diplomatic terms. Others will grant authority
to the use of force if it falls within bounds of justice and reason.
Obviously, we still lack universal agreement on what is just and reasonable.
There are disagreements, but there is a growing sense of both. Between 1991 and
November 2002 the United Nations Security Council passed more than a dozen
mostly Chapter 7 -- use of force -- resolutions concerning Iraq; resolutions
authorizing the use of force. That matters in a world where principles count.
And that's the kind of a world we live in, not least because America, more than
most, has tried hard to bring such a world into being.
We're mindful of all this. We've used force when we believed we had to, but not
beyond. But it's not just about force. It's about diplomacy. President Bush has
stressed that states supporting terrorism are as guilty as terrorists
themselves, and he's right -- they are. But we were never so unimaginative to
think that one approach would work in dealing with all cases. That's why were
determined to make best use of the reputation of American and coalition power to
achieve goals without necessarily having to use force.
What do recent decisions of the Libyan Government tell us about that effort?
What do less dramatic but still noticeable changes in either policy or body
language in certain other Middle Eastern countries tell us? I think they tell us
that we understand well this first basic principle of diplomacy.
Diplomacy, then, if I may spell it out in a phrase, is the combination of power
and persuasion, the orchestration of deeds and words in pursuit of policy
objectives. Now, every true diplomat knows this, but not everyone's a diplomat.
Some have recently argued that Libya's recent decision to turn away from weapons
of mass destruction is an interesting thing, but they see it in terms that
remind me of an old beer commercial: "tastes great/less filling, tastes
great/less filling." Did they do it because of force? Did they do it because of
And of course, in almost every situation I deal with, it's not either/or.
Diplomacy isn't the opposite of force. Diplomacy without power is just naked
pleading. Power without diplomacy is incomplete. Libya's change of heart, in my
judgment, wouldn't have happened in the absence of American power as a backdrop.
But policy success also required American and British skills at persuasion. In
this case, the combination of power and persuasion is what worked. And we all
saw on our television sets this afternoon a remarkable scene: Prime Minister
Tony Blair sitting in a tent with Muammar Qadhafi. And you also saw this
morning, Assistant Secretary of State Bill Burns with Muammar Qadhafi yesterday.
Or the day before, I guess it was.
A second basic principle of diplomacy follows from the first: Policy success
comes easier when more actors work with you to achieve it than work against you
to prevent it.
One of diplomacy's main jobs is to arrange coalitions so that one's power and
one's reputation are multiplied. The fact of power alone cannot do this because
power repels as well as attracts. A wise diplomacy magnifies power's attractive
quality by using power to benefit others as well as oneself. It shows other
states that their most important equities will be advanced if they cooperate
with you. And the epitome of this principle is a formal alliance.
American diplomacy after World War II exemplified the soundness of this
principle. We put our power at the disposal of all who cherished freedom and
peace. We did things for others they couldn't do for themselves. We defended
others, yes, but we also forgave our former enemies and helped reconcile old
adversaries. We advanced common prosperity by building institutions to promote
trade and investment.
All this magnified the attractive qualities of American power and legitimized
our power in the eyes of others. We were the candyman, the rainmaker, of
international politics. And we still are. I know the rap, the charge against
this Administration's supposed unilateralism. I don't buy it because the facts
Do we not put our power at the disposal of others, including the dozen of allies
who stand with us in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the dozens more who work with us
in the war against terrorism worldwide? Do we not still do for others things
they cannot do for themselves, like organize regional coalitions to bring relief
to shattered countries like Liberia and Haiti? We still embrace old enemies with
new perspectives, including some in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we still work to
reconcile old adversaries, our efforts in the Middle East, in Africa, in South
Asia and elsewhere show.
I spent part of last week in India and Pakistan working hard to see these two
nations that 18 months, 20 months ago on the verge of war -- war that might have
been a nuclear war -- but the headline this time when I was there was, "Pakistan
Wins At Cricket," and they're talking to one another. They're exchanging trade
ideas and they're exchanging delegations. And they have an agreement underway
being executed now to begin conversations that will lead through the thicket of
issues that they have to work on, to include Kashmir.
We're no less committed to free trade than we ever were, and we're no less
dedicated to our allies either, despite the shifting of the circumstances that
gave rise to our oldest and most cherished alliances.
Now, allies aren't always easy to get along with, in war or in peace. But when
there's trouble among friends -- as we've had over the past year or so -- it
doesn't follow that the fault always lies on one side. Nor should disagreements
among friends surprise or overly excite us.
Nearly every year since 1949, someone has predicted, for example, the end of
NATO -- over Berlin, over Suez and Hungary, over Vietnam, over the 1973 Middle
East War, over the Euromissile ordeal of the 1980s, or something else. But NATO
hasn't ended. Quite the contrary, it's enlarging.
I still remember in the early '90s after the Soviet Union ended and I was still
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I got to really know some of the
Russian generals up close and personal in a way that I couldn't have known them
earlier. They would say to me, "Well the Warsaw Pact is gone. You don't need
NATO anymore. It only existed for the Warsaw Pact, so why don't you get rid of
And I thought about it and gave it some of the most weighty consideration I
possibly could, and the simple answer was, it's hard to close down a club when
people continue to ask for membership applications. (Laughter.)
And this Monday we will add seven more members to this grand alliance. An
alliance that is no longer seen as a threat to the Russian Federation, and in
fact, the NATO-Russia Council invites Russia to work with NATO. It's a great
change in history and it teaches us two things: First, don't fall for the NATO
hysteria-du-jour, that something's about to fall apart; second and more
important, it teaches us that alliances based on principles and not just on
momentary needs have the ability to adjust when circumstances change. And NATO
is such an alliance.
In the late 1940s we worried that Western Europe might be overrun by the Red
Army, or subverted by local Soviet-supported communists. We're no longer worried
by the dangers that confronted us in the late 1940s, or even the late 1980s. By
that measure, if NATO were only a military coalition, serving only Cold War
purposes, it would have expired, it should have expired, a long time ago. In the
late '40s American statesmen were just as concerned that Europe be rebuilt in
such a way that we wouldn't be dragged into a third World War over new European
And that's why we were so concerned that post-war Europe be dominated by
genuine, stable and prosperous liberal democracies, because liberal democracies
don't produce disasters like the First and Second World Wars. So NATO was never
just a military alliance. It's been a compact of political principles, too. And
that's why NATO can now and has now transformed itself from an alliance devoted
mainly to the defense of common territory into an alliance devoted to the
defense of common interests and ideals. And that's why it can apply its
irreplaceable experience in common defense to dealing with new kinds of threats.
That transformation can be tricky. Our common security challenges are no longer
as vivid as they were in the days of Soviet military power. Threats are less
well defined, more unpredictable. As a consequence we and our allies no longer
share common perceptions of threat to the same extent as we did in Cold War
times. That's been true even of terrorism, though it's clear now that this
threat is global and notsimply aimed at America. You can see that in Bali,
Madrid, Riyadh, Turkey, so many other places, in Russia itself, in Moscow.
Whatever NATO members today may lack by way of identical definitions of threats,
we do more than make up for that through a mature recognition that we share the
same vision of a good society and of a better world.
Transatlantic ties are as flexible as they are unbreakable.
So those are the reasons that America's alliance in Europe, in Asia and
elsewhere, particularly an alliance that we celebrate this evening a little bit,
NATO, become even stronger over the years. We shouldn't let the inevitable
stress of dealing with change mislead us or deter us. Our partnerships are
growing stronger as they adapt to new realities.
I'll be in Berlin next week for a major conference on Afghanistan. Afghanistan
is NATO's first non-European deployment in its history. And Germany is a leader
in it. German soldiers head the first provincial reconstruction team in Konduz,
under NATO command.
This is the same Germany, with the same German Government that we differed with
seriously about Iraq last year. But here we have common cause.
Of course, we don't look forward to disagreements, just so we can feel relieved
when we put them behind us - though that is a terrific feeling. I'm feeling it a
lot lately. NATO is closing ranks and working well on a whole range of issues,
not just Afghanistan, and I hope NATO will find a role to play in Iraq
reconstruction as well.
Everyone knows we need each other. We're wrapped up in each other like family,
as we have been for so long. We argue with each other in proportion to how much
we care about each other. We care a lot -- enough to keep our differences in
Now let me come now to the third principle I wanted to talk about this evening.
It's this: Success in diplomacy is often most advantageous when it's incomplete.
That may sound strange, but all I mean is that it's possible to overdo things --
that there are ways of winning that can turn victory into defeat. Examples of
overreach fill history books. Fortunately, there are also examples in those
books of getting it right.
Another way to put this principle is that an adversary needs an honorable path
of escape if we're to achieve our main policy goals without using force. Some
adversaries will never take that avenue of exit, of escape -- Saddam Hussein
being a perfect example. A cornered adversary may lash out, and our eventual
success at arms, if it comes at all, could be a pyrrhic victory. The diplomacy
of the Cuban Missile Crisis illustrates this.
By offering to remove U.S. Jupiter missiles in Turkey that we'd scheduled for
removal anyway, President Kennedy gave Chairman Khrushchev a way out. He took
it. Our success was incomplete. We didn't get the Soviets altogether out of Cuba
at that time. We didn't get Fidel Castro out of power, as we know. But our
success was the most advantageous one available given the risks and probable
costs of seeking more. We did remove a mortal threat to the United States, and
we transformed the dynamics of Cold War risk-taking into a positive way.
This third principle of diplomacy remains very much in play. We have a problem
in North Korea. Madeleine Albright worked on it. We're working on it. The DPRK
North Korean leadership has been trying to generate a crisis atmosphere on the
Korean Peninsula. It's part of a pattern of extortion that the DPRK has
practiced over many years.
It wouldn't be diplomatic for me to lay out all of our tactics in dealing with
North Korea, but it's telling no secrets out of school to say that the
President's been very patient. All options remain on the table, but we've
focused our efforts on persuasion, so we get back to principle number one.
The President has also gathered allies -- principle number two. The main
equities of four of our five interlocutors in the six-party talks run parallel
to our own. Russia, China, South Korea, Japan -- all are committed to the
complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all North Korean nuclear
By working to bring Japan, Russia, China, and South Korea into our Korean
diplomacy, we advance their equities as well as our own. We legitimate our
power; we give it greater authority.
We also enhance the prospect that a solution will endure, and we improve our
relations with important countries in ways that transcend the stakes in Korea.
To succeed, however, principle number three is key. We're seeking the end of
North Korea's nuclear threat. And to achieve that there has to be an exit
through which the North Korean leadership can move if it makes the right
choices. That exit is marked, ‘embark here and now for the 21st century, and to
have an honorable place in the world community.'
If North Korea's leaders do embark for the 21st century, and if our diplomacy
achieves the complete dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programs, we will
have gained an important success.
It would still be an incomplete success -- knowingly so. As with Cuba, we will
achieve the most advantageous success available, given the probable risks and
costs of seeking more.
That's the President's policy, and it's the right policy. It doesn't mean we'll
ever reward the North Korean regime for oppressing its people and threatening
its neighbors, any more than we have rewarded the Cuban regime since 1962.
Those regimes will change, either because the regimes themselves will seek
transformation, or because their peoples will change the regime. They are
running against the tide of history over a long period of time, just as the
Soviet Union did until it realized a better world lay ahead.
Clearly, not every instance of political progress in the world can or should be
accomplished by force or arms, certainly not just American force of arms. Of
course we stand for universal ideals -- we stand for liberty, for freedom, for
government of, by, and for the people under the rule of law. But we can't just
wave our hands and turn these ideals into reality everywhere at once.
The President knows, we all know, that if we want our power to endure, and the
reputation of our power to prevail over the long haul, we must be patient,
cooperative, and prudent as well as strong and bold in the face of danger.
As I've tried to describe it this evening, American foreign policy is anchored
in a method as well as in its ideals. It's President Bush's method, in which
power and persuasion combine in an active diplomacy. It's a method by which we
seek partners though whom our power can be both legitimated and used for the
And perhaps above all, it is a method that recognizes the need to distinguish
between what is both desirable and attainable, and what is only one or the
I'd like to think George Kennan understands and applauds this description of
American diplomacy. After all, to a considerable extent, we all learned much
from him, from his example and from his writings.
So let me close, then, by thanking the Wilson Center for the privilege of
addressing you this evening, by again congratulating the Kennan Institute on
reaching its 30th year -- and especially, in the presence of Ambassador Kennan's
family, for Ambassador Kennan reaching his 100th year. We are forever in his
debt. He remains an inspiration to all of us in the State Department.
Thank you very much.